Red Sox sweep Indians; Bucs fall to Braves
Jon Lester pitched seven strong innings, Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a tiebreaking home run in the fourth and the Boston Red Sox got their sixth straight win with a 6-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday.
The Red Sox return home to play Kansas City tonight, their first game at Fenway Park since Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Lester (3-0) held the Indians to two runs and four hits. Daniel Nava had two RBIs while Saltalamacchia, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and Mike Carp each drove in a run.
Indians manager Terry Francona, who managed in Boston for eight seasons and led the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007, was swept in the first series against his former team. Cleveland has lost four straight.
The Indians, who went 2-6 on their first homestand, open a 10-game trip Friday in Houston. Cleveland’s struggling offense has scored nine runs in the losing streak.
Braves 6, Pirates 4
Pinch-hitter Evan Gattis connected for a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth inning for Atlanta.
Atlanta brothers B.J. and Justin Upton homered in the same game for the second time this season as the Braves continued their torrid play. Atlanta improved to a major league-best 13-2 after Gattis hit a sinker from Jared Hughes (1-1) into the left-field bleachers for the first pinch-hit homer of his career.
Anthony Varvaro (1-0) won in relief of starter Julio Teheran. Craig Kimbrel worked a perfect ninth for his seventh save.
Russell Martin and Pedro Alvarez each hit their first homer of the year, but the Pirates couldn’t climb above .500. Travis Snider added two doubles and Garrett Jones drove in two runs.
The Uptons homered in the ninth inning of a 6-5 comeback win over the Cubs on April 6. This time, they didn’t wait so long to get started. B.J. Upton led off the game with a shot to left and Justin added a solo drive of his own in the fifth for his ninth of the season, most in the majors.
Their power kept the Braves in it following another subpar start from Teheran.
Atlanta pitchers came in with a 1.77 ERA — easily the best in baseball — but Teheran continued to be the one member of the starting staff still searching for solid footing. The 22-year-old struggled with his command in five innings, giving up four runs on seven hits while striking out four and walking three.
Teheran had been lights out against right-handed batters but surrendered Martin’s first homer with the Pirates leading off the second. Alvarez — in the midst of a 4 for 45 (.089) slump to begin the season — drilled a 91 mph slider to the batter’s eye leading off the fourth.
Pittsburgh left-hander Jeff Locke’s job security is tenuous. Locke’s first two starts were adequate and manager Clint Hurdle said there is a “window” for Locke to convince the Pirates to keep him around.